Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Improving Finances a Top New Year's Resolution | Main | It's Budgeting Time of the Year »

January 08, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I had a short commute last year, living a block from work. But I was working miserable investment banking hours (90+ a week!), so the short commute didn't really help. Of course, a longer commute back then would have killed me altogether.

Now I have a longer commute (about 45 minutes each way, not counting time waiting for the bus), but I work 60 hours a week instead. This probably still sounds crappy to a lot of people, but I'm relieved. I have time to cook dinner, blog, watch a little TV.

Had I started my career with 60-hour weeks and 90-minute commutes (round trip), I might have been pretty sad. But because I worked a Job From Hell first, this seems comparatively easier. I even took a pay cut for the longer commute. So to me, the research really indicates that you should be paid an extra $133k to give up time with family and friends, not necessarily to compensate you for a long commute. (I guess it's just semantics, but the semantics here depends on your perspective.)

I don't get people who choose to live an hour away and then constantly complain about it. Move! Or get a different job! Then again, here in Texas, we don't have some magic area no one can afford to live in (Manhattan).

I've always had close to a 30 minute commute, which I think is pretty common here. I would love to be close enough to walk, but that would require a move to a not so great neighborhood or a new job, neither of which I really care to do.

The longest commute I've ever had was about 45 minutes each way, which is the limit of what I can deal with. It would be a different story if I could take public transportation and get my relaxation / free-lance time in during the commute (carpooling doesn't work for this); then I'd be willing to put up with about 1.5 hours each way.

That said, my current commute is about 25 minutes, which I find is more than enough to give me some mental "distance" from work.

I've always detested driving, period. My family of 3 only has one car and I take the bus to work (it's about 15 minutes, 3.5 miles). The LONGEST commute I've ever had was 30 minutes, and I hated every minute of it. I long for the day of working several part-time jobs with one or more of those being at or from home for myself. I am weary of the "career path" working for someone else world.

It takes me about 15 minutes to get to and from work, maybe twenty minutes at the most. Some of the people I work with though travel over an hour to get to work. I can't even imagine it.

My wife used to have a minimum 60 minute commute each way (90 minutes driving home on Fridays). That lasted about 3 months before we sold our place and moved to be closer to her job. I work out of the house so it didn't have much impact on me.

When you add up the numbers the time spent on a long commute can be staggering. E.g., we estimated my wife would spend 525 hours (or 21 days) sitting in the car. That was more time than she was getting for vacation!

My commute is about 35-40 minutes each way. I really don't like it, especially because my wife works from home. But overall it's not too bad.

I would love to have a job close enough to walk from home, or even ride a bike.

I've gotten used to working from home so much that I try to do everything during the day so I don't have to share the road with anyone who commutes. This works well but knowing the alternative makes driving during rush hour that much worse. In addition to saving time, I'm well on my way to earning a lot more than I could in the regular jobs that would be available to me now.

Travel is different though - if I wasn't gone too frequently or too long (or driving places myself) I would love to travel for free. So I guess I would take a slight pay cut to get free travel.

penelope trunk is out of touch with reality... i have yet to read one of her columns that can be applied in the workplace. yes, if you are choosing between changing jobs to save on commute time and are a top-notch employee, you may be able to negotiate a pay raise. but $100k+? give me a break. you'll be out on the curb with your belongings before you know what hit you.

some people live in rural areas and a long commute to earn a decent income is a necessity. other industries reguire constant travel-you knew this when you applied for the job.

do what fits your lifestyle and your earning expectation. otherwise, dont complain and/or try to justify that youre worth more

Right now I'm working anywhere from 60-80 hours a week, so I don't think I could stand more than my ~20 min. commute to work. On a more normal schedule, I wouldn't mind a longer one...always provided it was on public transportation. Driving for an hour sounds like pure, unalloyed hell to me. An hour on the train? Inconvenient, but I can read or knit or watch my iPod.

I see the benefit of working from home but I never would do it; costs, costs, and it's a home not a business. Instead I would find space withing walking distance. None the less, in an increasingly digital world the analog has become scarce resulting in an increase in value, so you can charge more for being on site... :-)

Wow, it's amazing how many people work 60+ hours.
For me anything over 45 is too much....

I had a 50min commute and now 10... Much nicer but I was able to work 35hrs/wk at the job with a 50min commute, so it comes out fairly even.

I had a super long commute one summer for an internship. It was like the NJ->NY commute you described above. I wasn't a big fan of getting up so early, but I did get a lot of reading done that summer (and blogged about it on my MIT blog, too!) Which was a nice change from never getting a chance to pleasure read during school.
It was better for me to live at home than live in the city that summer because rent is so high in NYC, I was only going to be there a few months...and instead I got to live at home for free and spend a lot more time with my family. So overall, the commute meant more time with my family!

I can't believe your friend didn't make that decision sooner! Swapping a 2 hour commute for a 15 minute commute for only $20k is a no-brainer! I would swap it for 5 times that! I could never handle that commute. I used to live in NJ also but it only took me about 15-20 mins to get to work in NYC. Now I live just a 10-15 minute walk from my office. That's the beauty of the New York metro area, even if you live way out in Brooklyn or Queens, metro NJ, -- the commute into the city is short.

Don't those with long commutes look forward to NOT seeing those people?

Just catching up on this. How funny you posted this after I wrote that I was partly switching jobs to shorten/change my commute. You can have the best of both worlds to shorten your commute AND make more money if you do it right. I have a friend who has a significant commute only 2x a week, but makes LOTS of money and has a great quality of life. That sacrifice of a 4-hour commute 2 days of the week makes all other days with no commute possible. (There is no such thing as zero-face-time in certain lines of work.)

My new commute will allow me to listen to music again or read a paper briefly or a book. It's not very long at all because I will walk to a bus and then take a 10 minute crowded bus ride. But it will be better than driving and listening to NPR during election season! LOL!

I do that exact, terrible commute of which you speak every single weekday. And yes, it is truly terrible, but sometimes I tell myself I'm using the communiting time for constructive things.

Like being forced to listed to others' cell phone conversations, or being squeezed next to someone with bad breath and a tendency to accidentally hit me in the face with his newspaper.

My commute would be about 20-ish minutes each way, if I wasn't going with traffic. As it is, with normal traffic (no accidents or anything), it takes me about 30-35 minutes to get to work and 45-50 to get home. It would be nice if it was 20-25 minutes, but I love my job and the ones that are closer aren't any good (I'm a teacher and already worked in one district closer, and the other two aren't any better). I don't want to live too close to my school, as it's in a really really bad neighborhood. Same reason I choose not to use the bus - I don't want to walk through there every day. But I have a carpool buddy and am able to carpool 3 to 5 days a week which is nice :)

Anyway, decreasing my commute would increase my husband's, and he's crankier about driving than I am.

I did the 1.5-hour commute for 6 weeks at my first job out of school, but as soon as my lease was out, I moved!

I've had to go one hour each way. Fortunately with shortcuts I have cut it down to 45 to 50 minutes each way. It is a difficult choice to balance out but I figure that most people in Southern California have to deal with some sort of traffic. In fact, friends that live in the same city sometimes take 30 minutes to get to work simply because road traffic. It is something that is a quality of life choice. I'm not sure how she arrived at $133,000 but again, this is hard to put a number on. I've seen the same argument about healthcare which doesn't make sense either. If you need insulin and are a diabetic, you're not going to accept any substitutes and pay whatever is necessary. With traffic, some people choose to do this and are actually happy doing it. They have time to go through numerous audio books, stay in touch with what is going on via talk radio, and have a higher earning position.

You lose time from family but that is the sacrifice many have to make. If you want your family to have a nice home in Southern California, many blue collar workers commute from Riverside or San Bernardino for a nice cheap home and a better life for their kids. They don't mind sacrificing their own life for a better one for their family. Sometimes for these people the balance doesn't exist because their jobs isn't in their area.

I commute a couple of hours every day (NJ to Manhattan) but don't complain about it. In the mornings I sleep and in the evening I watch some movie on my psp, read or crossstitch. I would probably just watch TV at home the extra hour if I didn't commute, because I'm so tired after working. I prefer to use the time well before complaining, but then again I don't have kids. I might rethink this in a few years, but right now I'm just happy that I'm paying a mortgage for a house in NJ instead of paying horrible rents in NY.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.